Sunday, June 3, 2012

Things of Eternity

JT and Amber surrounded by family and friends at the Bountiful Utah Temple June 1, 2012.

This week we had a wonderful opportunity to attend the wedding of JT, our eldest grandson, and Amber Houghton in the Bountiful Utah Temple.  As the sealer spoke I could sense a great sense of what eternity might mean.  We were very happy to feel that we are a part of an eternal family, and that the growth and joy we have experienced over the years will continue forever.  I have sometimes said, referring to my love for my good wife, Iris, that I can hardly wait to see how much I will love her a hundred million years from now.  I'm sure that JT and Amber will find that their love for one another will grow from day to day and from year to year.  That love will grow even more because of the covenants and promises they have made with one another, and especially because the Lord has also promised them blessings beyond our wildest imagination.

I think attending the Temple weddings of young couples in the family or among our friends gives us an opportunity to reflect upon the wonderful promises made to all of us who are willing to make and live by the eternal covenants that belong to every Temple marriage performed by authority given by God himself to men.  It sometimes staggers even my imagination when I contemplate these great blessings.

The times we spend together help us to weave a fabric of faith, trust, and learning which bind us together.  I am so grateful for each of you in my life and for the way you have enriched my personal experience with mortality.  I hope that in some small way I have had a similar effect on your lives.

In a discussion with Justin he shared with me a few lines from an assignment he is working on at USU.  These kinds of experiences give us a chance to learn from one another and to gain perspective into the nature of eternity and our role in it.  We are children of God and as such have an infinite potential, but in the event we might get a little impatient or wish to take too much glory unto ourselves, Justin's thoughts tend to put things into perspective and give us ample reason to be humble.
The following is a small excerpt from his thoughts on this topic.  I well remember those days, and shall ever cherish the hours we spent together in nature.
From Justin.

Here is the copy of the evolutionary biology discussion I showed you at the wedding.

My dad was a school teacher but he was also a lecturer for The National Geographic Society.  We spent a lot of time together when I was young, and even now that I am not so young, in the mountains.  He loved to hike and "summit bag" (climb to the top of prominent peaks in different geographic areas).  He said he could get a better perspective of the Earths geological forces by standing on top of a mountain looking across ranges and down valleys.  I remember one hike to the top of Midnight Mountain in the Bear River Range in Southern Idaho when I was maybe 8 years old that we found a fossil of a trilobite about a hundred yards from the summit.  First he explained to me what a trilobite was and then he asked me how I thought a creature that lived in seas died, became fossilized, and ended up at almost 10,000 feet above sea level.  I didn't know then but do know now that the Earth is very old.  I can't fathom 4.5 billion years but I learned that the rocks that make up Midnight Mountain (and the rest of the Bear River Range) formed during the Ordovician period about 445 million years ago and the last trilobites died of about 250 million years ago but first appeared in the fossil records about 526 million years ago.  When the trilobite died and sank to the bottom of the sea it was then covered by layer upon layer of sediment.  It eventually fossilized and the rocks that were formed from the sediments were then lifted up by the forces of plate tectonics and fault activity.  Eventually the rocks that formed Midnight Mountain were lifted up (I only wish I knew how high) and then eventually eroded down to its present height and also exposing the rock that had the fossilized remains of the trilobite.  This experience kind of helped me get a grasp on how old the Earth is and how strong the geological forces that have shaped it are.  But I still cannot completely wrap my mind around the fact that I won't even live as many seconds as the Earth is old in years.  To me it is a little sad to think I can only see these changes in very small, slow increments. 
Those last couple of sentences kind of put things in perspective.  There are lessons of eternal significance to be learned from trilobites.  Our lives are short and maybe we would like to see the entire picture right now, but if we could, we would not be able to comprehend it, and might become discouraged at the enormity of the tasks remaining before us.  "One step enough for me." Carpe diem, sieze the day, and then the next one and the next one.

by Bart

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